Returning to #AskExtremeRoss, @ballulaadi wants to know “Plz tell me which EO/IR and Radar sensors are used by the U-2”. (I’ll probably want to add a disclaimer that this is all open source, NON-classified information. I sometimes get people worried that I’m giving away all the good secrets, but I assure you, I’m not.)

The U-2 can carry either the latest version of the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System (ASARS) or Senior Year Electo-Optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS). Suffice to say that both of these cameras have some pretty impressive specs and are worth much more than the entire airframe. Honorable mention goes to the Optical Bar Camera (OBC) which sits in the belly of the plane and uses miles of wet film. This obviously takes a team to process after the flight, while the others are digital. There is also equipment for signals intelligence. What has made the aircraft so popular through the years is it is a very capable platform for whatever kind of intelligence you are looking to collect. Put a new, upgraded sensor on it and you might introduce a new capability to the battlefield.

All on a 65 year old design that has only gotten better with age.

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